Concentration 20

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Concentration 20
Concentration 20.png
Studio album by Namie Amuro
Released 24 July 1997
Recorded Complex Studio, Larrabee West, Record Plant Studios, Sony Music Studio, tk sequence 1105st
Genre Pop rock, dance rock
Length 56:17
Label Avex Trax
Producer Tetsuya Komuro
Namie Amuro chronology
Sweet 19 Blues
(1996)
Concentration 20
(1997)
Genius 2000
(2000)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]

Concentration 20 is the third studio album by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released July 24, 1997 by Avex Trax. The album's genre is a fusion of styles including pop, dance and rock. Unlike Amuro's previous effort, Sweet 19 Blues, which primarily had lyrics written by Tetsuya Komuro, Concentration 20's lyrics were mostly written by Marc Panther. Komuro did, however, compose and arrange all of the album's songs and wrote the lyrics to three of them.

After Amuro's 1996 album Sweet 19 Blues sold in excess of three million copies in Japan and for a brief period was even the best-selling Japanese album of all time, recording for a follow-up album began. Much of the recording of Concentration 20 was done in the United States, primarily in Los Angeles, California.

"A Walk in the Park" was released as the album's lead single on November 27, 1996. It was very successful, becoming Amuro's fourth number one single and fourth million-seller. The second single, "Can You Celebrate?", was released on February 19, 1997. Used as the theme song for the TV drama Virgin Road, it was an unprecedented commercial success: It sold over 2.7 million physical copies and remains the best-selling physical single by a female soloist in Japanese history. It charted for forty-nine weeks and was certified double Million by the RIAJ, her first and only single to receive such a certification. A re-release for Christmas 1997 sold over 400,000 copies itself. The rock-infused third single, "How to Be a Girl", reached number one and sold over 770,000 copies.

Concentration 20 received mixed reviews from critics. The songs and production were praised, though some critics dismissed Amuro's limited vocal range and Komuro's backing vocals. Nonetheless, it was a big commercial success. The album entered the Oricon albums chart at number one with first-week sales of 824,980 copies. It charted for 28 weeks, and was the seventh best-selling album of the year, selling nearly two million copies. Combined with the sales of its singles, Concentration 20 has sold around 4.5 million copies.

History[edit]

Two months earlier, Amuro had been touring Japan on the Namie Amuro tour 1997 A Walk in the Park. Her previous album, Sweet 19 Blues became the biggest selling album of all time when it was released.

The same month that the album was released, Amuro toured Japan's four domes in support of it. A few months after the tour, she would announce her pregnancy and pending maternity leave.

Style[edit]

The album embodies an array of styles including pop, rock and even some reggae. Unlike her previous album which was heavy on the pseudo-R&B side, this album was practically void of it. Concentration 20 took on a more electronic style similar to that of her producer's group, globe. Some argue that the album isn't really a reflection of Amuro, but just goes to demonstrate the talent of Tetsuya Komuro.

Opening the album is the industrial rock influenced, "Concentration 20 (make you alright)." The song was unlike anything she had previously released and really embodies the diversity within this project. "Me Love Peace!!" was Amuro's first attempt at reggae style music. She would not attempt a similar style again until Queen of Hip-Pop (2005) was released featuring some songs in dancehall and reggaeton fashion. Two of the singles from the album, "A Walk in the Park" and "Can You Celebrate?" appear on the album subtly remixed. Perhaps the one song that does demonstrate how much of this album was Komuro is "I Know..." The song is an instrumental track performed solely by him.

Singles[edit]

The singles from this album were very successful, two were million sellers and they reached the top spot of the charts.

A Walk in the Park[edit]

Released four months after the massive success of her first studio album Sweet 19 Blues, it became her fourth number one and million selling single. The single spent 7 weeks into the top 5 and 8 weeks in Top 10 totally.[2][3][4][5][6][7] She performed the song at the Japan Cable Awards in December 1996 and at the Japan Gold Disc Awards in February 1997. A Walk in the Park was the 13th best selling single of the year 1997.

Can You Celebrate?[edit]

Amuro began the year 1997 with her defining single and biggest success to date. The song, a gospel influenced ballad, was released as the second single from the album. It opened at the top spot with over 800,000 copies sold in its first week,[8] the highest first week sales for a single at that time and the 8th highest opening sales of all times for a single in Japan.[9] It spent two consecutive weeks at #1,7 weeks in the top 5 and 8 weeks in Top 10 totally. It was charted for 40 weeks.[10] Can You Celebrate? was the biggest selling single of 1997 [11] and is the 14th best selling single in Japanese music history [12] with sales of over 2.5 millions copies.[13] A remix single of the song was also released to commemorate Namie's wedding with Sam and was also successful with about 500,000 units sold. In December 1997, the song helped her to win the Best Single Award at the 39th Japan Record Awards.

How to Be a Girl[edit]

The third and last single from the album was released in May 1997. How to Be a Girl is Namie's first attempt at rock music. The single was a commercial success, spending two consecutive weeks at #1 and selling over 770,000 copies, included over 300,000 copies purchased in its opening week.[14] How to Be a Girl was also the 23rd best selling single of 1997.

Tie-ups and theme songs[edit]

A Walk in the Park and Can You Celebrate? were both theme songs for Maxell UD commercials and Whisper was used as the background music for the Maxell MD74 commercial.[15]

Can You Celebrate? was also the theme song of the Japanese dorama Virgin Road.

How to Be a Girl was used as background music in four commercials for Sea Breeze products. The first CM was promoting a sun lotion, the second a shampoo, the third a deodorant and the last a moisturizer.[16]

No Communication was used as background music in a commercial for the DyDo Mistio drinks.[17]

Sales[edit]

Concentration 20 debut at #1 with 824,980 copies sold (Namie's 3rd best first week sales for an album). It was again at the top spot in its 2nd week with 362,440 copies sold. The album stayed in the top 10 for 7 weeks and in the top 20 for 9 weeks. It sold over 1.9 million copies during its chart run and more than 2 million copies in total.[18]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Arranger(s) Length
1. "Concentration 20 (make you alright)"   MARC Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:07
2. "B w/z You"   MARC Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
5:03
3. "Close Your Eyes, Close to You"   MARC Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
5:50
4. "Me Love Peace!!"   MARC Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:29
5. "No Communication"   MARC Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:14
6. "A Walk in the Park"   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
5:50
7. "To-day"   MARC Cozy Kubo Cozy Kubo
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:41
8. "Storm"   m.c.A.T Akio Togashi Akio Togashi
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
3:07
9. "Whisper"   MARC Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
5:08
10. "Can You Celebrate?"   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Strings: Randy Waldman
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
6:15
11. "I Know..."   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro 3:09
12. "How to Be a Girl"   Tetsuya Komuro,
MARC
Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:24

Personnel[edit]

  • Namie Amuro - vocals, background vocals
  • Lynn Mabry - background vocals
  • Valerie Mayo - background vocals
  • Akio Togashi - background vocals, keyboard
  • Will Wheaton Jr. - background vocals
  • Cozy Kubo - keyboard
  • Tetsuya Komuro - backing vocals, guitar, keyboard, synthesizer
  • Kazuhiro Matsuo - bass, guitar
  • Kenji Sano - bass
  • Ataru Sumiyoshi - bass
  • Michael Thompson - guitar

Production[edit]

  • Producers - Tetsuya Komuro
  • Mixing - Eddie Delena
  • Vocal Direction - Tetsuya Komuro, Kenji Sano
  • Photography - Itaru Hirama
  • Art Direction - Tycoon Graphics

References[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album - Oricon Sales Chart (Japan)

Release Chart Peak Position First Week Sales Sales Total Chart Run
24 July 1997 Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1
Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1 824,980 1,929,860 28
Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 7

Singles - Oricon Sales Chart (Japan)[edit]

Release Single Peak Position Chart Run Sales
27 November 1996 "A Walk in the Park" 1 16 weeks 1,066,580
19 February 1997 "Can You Celebrate?" 1 40 weeks 2,296,200
21 May 1997 "How to Be a Girl" 1 11 weeks 772,130
25 December 1997 "Can You Celebrate? (re-release)" 1 9 weeks 454,020